“Andor” is the next new Star Wars series for Disney+ and is set years before the events of “Rogue One”/”A New Hope”. It explores the Star Wars universe from a new perspective from the Star Wars galaxy, focusing on Cassian Andor’s journey to discover the difference he can make. The series brings forward the tale of the burgeoning rebellion against the Empire and how people and planets became involved. It’s an era filled with danger, deception and intrigue where Cassian will embark on the path that is destined to turn him into a rebel hero.
Each episode is between 35 and 45 minutes long, with every three episodes becoming a block with a single story focus. The first three episodes, all of which are released on Disney+ on the same day, basically introduces us to Cassian Andor’s life before the Rebellion, and we get to see how he is recruited. With the fourth episode, moving on to a different story, which is Cassian’s first mission as part of the Rebellion against the Empire.
“Andor” on a whole, is much more gritty and realistic. The use of real sets, rather than the virtual set used in “The Mandalorian”, makes the show feel more lived in. The characters in this series are just trying to make it through the day and want to be left alone, away from the control of the Empire. But slowly, the Empire is tightening its grip on the galaxy, meaning there is some pushback from locals. On their own, they are powerless, but this is where the hope of the Rebellion comes in. Though, in these episodes, that hope is very faded and barely a glimmer. There is still plenty of big special effects on display, especially with regards to spaceships. But more importantly, the show isn’t set on Tatooine, so it at least looks a little different.
The characters in this series sit in a grey area, as we saw with “Rogue One”, they believe in the right thing to do, but will do things they shouldn’t do to survive. It feeds on the idea of you know what’s coming from the Empire, as it grows in strength, from the lack of opposition.
One thing that is very noticeable about this series, is there is no fan service, and by that, I mean, there are no unnecessary little cameos that are there just to get a pop from the audience. There are a few small little easter eggs, such as referencing Scarif (the main location for the final battle in “Rogue One”), but everything that’s included in these episodes is there for a reason. Some casual fans might not get the same feeling that we got from “The Mandalorian”, where it almost was a cameo of the week situation, “Andor” feels very different. It does have a much slower pace and embraces the longer format of doing a series. I also think it’s smart that the first three episodes are released at once, since you can get a proper feel for the series. With the extended season of twelve episodes, plus knowing Disney are filming another twelve episodes this winter, this is a show you can get heavily invested in, because with twenty-four episodes, you’re going to really get to understand who Cassian Andor is and have even more investment in the Rebels, than maybe ever before.
The series does feature some established Star Wars characters, like Saw Gerrera and Mon Mothma, both of which have been established in previous films and animated series, as major characters of the Rebellion, but once again, we get to see it from their angle. But you just know, this series isn’t going to have Darth Vader smashing in with his lightsaber, because he is massively overpowered for these characters. This is the appeal of this show. It’s about those people whose lives are being ruined by the Empire and who want to stand up for themselves. It’s not about the Force; it’s not about a prophecy. It’s about living. Nostalgia has played a major part in previous Disney+ series, and “Andor” doesn’t seem to play that card in the same way. This isn’t the Star Wars we grew up with. It wants to tell a different side of the classic Rebels vs Empire story, but without the Skywalker’s involvement, making it a much more grounded and gritty story, which is much more compelling to watch.
“Andor” is a very different series from previous Disney+ shows, “Obi-Wan Kenobi”, “The Book Of Boba Fett” or “The Mandalorian”. It has a completely different tone, style and ultimately, I think adult Star Wars fans are really going to enjoy this show, especially if you enjoyed “Rogue One”, since it appeals to a mature audience. I really enjoyed watching these first four episodes and will be watching them again when they drop onto Disney+, because they are that good, and I can’t wait to see where this series goes.
Rating – 4.5 Out Of 5
The first three episodes of “Andor” arrive on Disney+ on Wednesday, 21st September 2022, with new episodes dropping weekly.